Talking with Teachers, Episode 2. Guest: MSU Instructor David Watson

On the second episode of “Talking with Teachers,” I am joined by another Michigan State University employee, College of Arts and Letters faculty member, Dave Watson. Not only does Watson teach at Michigan State, he also has classes at Jackson College and is in a program known as the PEI (Prison Education Initiative), where he teaches inmates at Cooper St. Correctional Facility in Jackson. In the interview Watson talks about how he got into teaching, what his courses can offer and what it’s like teaching in a prison.

MSU track & field team practicing at Ralph Young Field.

MSU providing resources to curb strain on student athletes

Collegiate student-athletes have schedules that are rigorous and time-consuming. Calculate traveling throughout the year in there and you present another challenge that many students don’t face. According to Jeremy Thomas, MSU track and field and football academic coordinator, scholarship is a priority for MSU athletic teams and MSU’s Student-Athlete Support Services has things covered, providing more than 75 tutors for all student-athletes. In addition to tutors, the program has learning specialists who provide help at-risk students and students with learning disabilities. Thomas stresses that other than grit, MSU has other the tools and resources to help athletes be successful.

Karl Gude draws on a table covered in colorful sketches.

MSU on frontlines of creativity in classrooms

The emphasis on assignment grades and test scores has stifled creativity in the classroom. According to an international study by Adobe, educators and parents feel the education system itself has become a barrier to creative learning. But MSU professors are finding ways to keep creativity alive in their classrooms.

MSU’s College of Ed maintains top ranking with new programs to combat new challenges

Twenty-three years ago, The Rolling Stones played the first ever concert at Spartan Stadium. Twenty-three years ago, a stern assistant coach named Tom Izzo was a year away from taking over the MSU men’s basketball team. Twenty-three years ago, the Michigan State University College of Education was ranked No.1 in the nation. A lot has changed in 23 years, but the college’s reputation has not. MSU boasted the top secondary and elementary educational institution in the nation throughout, according to U.S. News and World Report rankings.

Photo by Alexa Seeger

Pioneering place- and project-based learning

The lights from the Mackinac bridge winked through the haze. The drizzle coursed down the students’ plastic ponchos as they walked Lake Michigan’s shore with one of their teachers, Charlotte Hagerman. Hagerman showed a group how to skip stones, since many had never done so before.

“Then this little guy, now he was a tough kid,” Hagerman said. “He comes up to me, ‘Ms. Hagerman, Ms. Hagerman,’ and he holds a shell up. And he says, ‘my first shell.’”

In order to build community and reach students at multiple grade and ability levels, Hagerman and Bobo looked to supplement lecture style teaching. After attending conferences and a chance meeting with another teacher pioneering place-based learning in Frankfort, the two teachers implemented project-based and place-based learning in their classroom.

Educators seek to capitalize on pros of technology, multitasking

Computers multitask. TVs multitask. Phones multitask. And of course, people do too, but not effectively. According to research conducted in 2016 by Anastasia Kononova, an assistant professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Michigan State University, most students, 79 percent of study participants, multitasked by switching attention with Facebook while studying.

MSU senior fuses education and social relations

Abigail Harrington is a senior at Michigan State University. After studying social relations and policy at James Madison College, she decided to add education to her list of majors. In October, I was given the opportunity to speak with Abigail to discuss her story and her future plans as a potential educator. Read Abigail’s thoughts on unpaid teaching hours in Unpaid overtime and the social expectation for teachers. CB: Let’s start with the story.

With the continual increase of online education offerings, teachers must tackle the inevitable: transferring a traditionally face-to-face course to the internet. Photo Credit:

Translating education from the classroom to the internet

A 2017 study from Inside Higher Education showed online teaching is gaining popularity. In 2013, just 30 percent of respondents reported they taught an online course. This year, 42 percent reported teaching an online course. With the continual increase of online education offerings, teachers must tackle the inevitable: Transferring a traditional face-to-face course to the internet. From the teacher’s side of the screen

“The first time I taught a course with an online component was before the World Wide Web existed,” said Professor William Hart-Davidson, an associate professor and associate dean of graduate studies in MSU’s College of Arts and Letters.